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June is just so….Gay!

June 19, 2010

I know I’m a bit late, but Happy Gay Pride Month!

And of course, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be celebrating Gay Pride Month at the State Department:

Secretary Clinton and USAID Administrator Shah
to Deliver Remarks at Event Celebrating LGBT Month on June 22

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Rajiv Shah will deliver opening remarks on “LGBT Human Rights and U.S. Foreign Policy” at an event co-hosted by State’s Office of Civil Rights and GLIFFA, the organization for Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies, on Tuesday, June 22 at 11:00 a.m., at the Department of State.

The event is part of LGBT Pride Month celebrations at the U.S. Department of State and USAID.

Following the opening remarks, Assistant Secretary for Populations, Refugees, and Migration Eric Schwartz will lead a panel discussion with Deputy Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Daniel Baer, Mark Bromley of the Council for Global Equality, and Cary Johnson of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission.

The event will be open to credentialed members of the media and can be watched live on http://www.state.gov.

It’s refreshing to have a Secretary of State who actually gives a damn about gay rights at home and abroad. Actually, Albright was pro-gay rights too. Not so much Condi Rice, quite the opposite. If only our POTUS was as committed as Secretary Clinton is.

While Obama doesn’t seem to have the outright hostility towards gay rights that Republican Presidents have had, he never seems quite, I don’t know, comfortable with the whole idea. And then of course there was the whole shameful Rick Warren episode at the inauguration. I also think it’s pretty clear Obama is really dragging his feet on the DADT issue. How many more damn studies do we need to have? If we had left the issue of whether to totally desegregrate up to the rank-and-file military we’d probably still have segregated units. Also, Israel, Great Britain, Switzerland etc. have ZERO problems with having gay people serve openly in the military. I want the likes of grumpy old John McCain or even Secretary Gates (who I don’t think believes for a minute gay people should be able to serve openly, recent statements notwithstanding) to argue that Israel’s military has been weakened by allowing gay people to serve openly. Heh.

I’ve written about Secretary Clinton’s commitment to gay rights on this blog a bunch of times (see here, here and here to name a few).

This article over on Foreign Policy caught my eye- it’s about the plight of gay Iraqis and how being gay in that country (as is the case in so many other countries) is literally a matter of life and death. The author argues that it would help gay Iraqis who are trying to seek asylum in the U.S. to have the SOS classify them as “Priority 2” refugees under the Refugee Crisis in Iraq Act passed in 2008. Sounds good to me.

This picture cracks me up. In a good way:

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. Jackie permalink
    June 19, 2010 1:10 pm

    Hillary is the only one with enough balls, to take on this issue head on. Obama only speaks about the issue after Hillary makes a statement concerning it. It seems to me that he is always hiding behind her on issues that some may find controversial. That is not leadership on his part.

    • Carolyn-Rodham permalink
      June 19, 2010 1:36 pm

      Interesting way to put it (“enough balls”) but I agree with you — Hillary doesn’t convey an ounce of discomfort or defensiveness about gays. And I’d wager that she is the only candidate for the Presidency who has had to answer questions from the press about whether she is lesbian.

      • June 19, 2010 1:50 pm

        The whole “Hillary is a lesbian” thing was so predictable (and that rumor has been around for over a decade) but to her credit she never dignified it by going around and getting defensive or even addressing it which was the smart thing to do and I think the gay community respects her for the way she handled it. Nobody should have to answer questions about their sexuality with respect to holding public office. It’s beyond stupid. Of course there are a still a lot of people who think if a woman is a proven leader, thinks independently and has drive, she MUST be a lesbian, which cracks me up because it’s pretty insulting to straight women. And also, there would be a whole lot more lesbians.

        At this stage, most of the pro-gay rights stuff is coming from the State Dept. and not the White House. Obama really doesn’t have credibility on gay rights- it’s like he first discovered it during the primaries and even then it was obvious it wasn’t his “thing.” Maybe she can use her chummy relationship with Secretary Gates to light a fire under his ass and get him moving on DADT and while she’s at it, use it as a teachable moment because I get the distinct feeling Gates is none too comfortable with the whole gay rights thing.

      • Jackie permalink
        June 19, 2010 1:57 pm

        I wasn’t trying to say she is a lesbian. I meant that she is the only one tough enough to speak out on these issues.

        I am sorry if I offended you. That was never my intention. I love Hillary and I never pay attention to anyone who makes those false allegations.

    • Carolyn-Rodham permalink
      June 19, 2010 2:06 pm

      Oh Jackie – you didn’t offend in the slightest! I totally knew what you were saying. For the record, I loved it when James Carville said Hillary was the only candidate with Cajones, and I knew exactly what he was saying — toughness, spine, determination, guts, etc.

      • Jackie permalink
        June 19, 2010 2:18 pm

        Thank you.

        I remember when Carville said that. It was true then, and it’s still true today. Hillary demonstrates this every single day.

  2. June 19, 2010 5:13 pm

    I’m not sure why so many gay folks voted for Obama- I tried to tell people I knew that his progressive policies seemed almost too good to be true. And sure enough, Obama has continued many of Bush’s worst terrorism policies (his war against whistleblowers and the indefinite detention issues really bother me. A lot.)

    Also, until some of the powerful gay rights groups like Human Rights Campaign (HRC) start to hold Democrats accountable, nothing is going to change. I tore up my HRC membership card and stopped giving them donations over a decade ago when it became clear to me that they had become too entrenched in Democratic politics and more concerned with their close access to power than *using* their power to effect change. They need to hold Obama’s feet to the fire and make clear that if he doesn’t start moving forward with the repeal of DADT in a meaningful way, then a lot of gay people will be staying home during the midterms and 2012. As usual though, just like with progressives in the party, we are all taken for granted because the Democratic party relies on the “but we’re better than those other guys (the GOP) and that’s getting old.

  3. Steve permalink
    June 19, 2010 5:24 pm

    Hey great post! Hillary is the true gay rights advocate, Obama is terrible on this issue and it really shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that he’s dragging his feet and that his words have thus far been pretty hollow. He’s really good at lofty speeches and raising expectations but not so good at actually turning words into action.

    I agree with Jackie, while I like to see Hillary out there front and center, when things get really ugly he is noticeably absent and makes Hillary take all the sh*t for controversial decisions.

    • June 19, 2010 5:34 pm

      Steve, that’s key because Obama really is insulated from some of the negative reaction to some of his foreign policy decisions because Hillary is out there taking the brunt of it. Part of me doesn’t totally mind that though because I’d rather she be out there front and center because I think she’s the better leader and she’s wildly popular around the world (in addition to here at home). But the problem I have is that he only wants to take ownership of some of his policies when a) they are popular or b) when he thinks they are so important as to not allow anyone else to be out in front on it.

      I think two good examples are the controversy over the coup in Honduras and his caving to Israel on every damn thing. A lot of folks, including me, were really stunned at how he backed off on illegal settlements and how he essentially caved to AIPAC and the Israel First crowd. But it has been Hillary who has been out front having to deal with it, even speaking at AIPAC right smack in the middle of the controversy over Biden’s rude, arrogant treatment by Bibi when he traveled to Israel. And as anyone who has been on this blog over the past week or so knows, a lot of progressives are blaming Hillary our fall-back position on Israel even though it clearly is a team decision- I do think Obama listens to Hillary and other members of his foreign policy team and I think she’s a very key player in all things related to foreign policy and national security. But at the end of the day, they are OBAMA’s policies. I know she is more conservative on a lot of issues but people that are trying to claim that everything is her fault, are deluded and I have been having this fight not just on this blog but also on other blogs as well.

  4. HillaryFan permalink
    June 19, 2010 5:26 pm

    Obama doesn’t have a gay rights policy. It’s obvious that the only reason he even utters the word “gay” out loud is because the gay community was really pushing him. All talk, no substance.

  5. June 19, 2010 5:32 pm

    bet if she hadn’t have got robbed that she would have had all of this mess straightened out by now

  6. Terry permalink
    June 20, 2010 3:12 pm

    As Patricia Highsmith the author of “The Talented Mr. Ripley” once said, homosexuals, in concealing their preferences, conceal their “humanity and natural warmth of heart as well.”

    Homosexuals aren’t in a battle just for their civil rights they are in a battle for their souls as well. As long as we condemn them to second class citizenship without the full rights all others enjoy, we condemn them to living half lives.

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